Brandon Marshall has again been thrust into the criminal justice system, but this time as the victim of domestic violence. The dispute occurred last Friday night between Marshall and is wife. The dispute resulted in Marshall's wife allegedly stabbing him in the abdomen causing him to spend the night in the trauma unit in Broward General Hospital. His wife, Michi, was arrested and booked on the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The defendant will either retain a Broward County or Miami criminal defense attorney to represent her in circuit court. Aggravated assault is a third degree felony punishable up to five years in prison. The defendant will most likely not face any period of incarceration as she has no prior criminal history.
Domestic violence cases are handled differently in Miami-Dade County from other types of criminal charges. In most other criminal cases, anyone arrested will receive a standard bond when booked into the jail and can immediately bond out of custody. Capital crimes and offenses that are punishable by life in prison do not afford a defendant a bond at the time of booking. Domestic violence charges have standard bonds, but defendants are required to appear before a judge before they can be released from jail. The bonds vary depending on the offense charged. Misdemeanor offenses such as simple battery generally carry a $1,500 bond, while felony offenses such as aggravated assault and aggravated battery have standard bond of $5,000.
Defendants in domestic violence cases are required to see a judge before their release for a couple of reasons. First, judges have any obligation to issue a stay away order to defendants charged in domestic violence cases. Stay away orders preclude defendants from having contact from victims. The order forbids defendants from contacting victims in person, telephonically, through e-mail or text messages. The order further forbids defendants from making third party contact with victims. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can appear before the judge presiding over the case and seek a modification of or discharge of the stay away order. The judge will require the victim to appear in court and provide sworn testimony under oath before a modification or discharge will be ordered. Secondly, preventing the early release provides for a short cooling off period.
Domestic violence charges are serious, not necessarily in terms of the punishment, but convictions or even withholds of adjudication will prevent a sealing or expungement of the record at a future date. First time offenders are generally offered pre-trial intervention which will which result in a nolle pros or dismissal if the defendant complies with all of the conditions set forth by the state attorney's office. Then and only after the case is dismissed can a defendant seek to seal or expunge his or her record. The victim must agree for any type of program to be offered to the defendant. If the victim does not concede to the program, probation will probably be offered. In either event, the defendant will be required to complete a rigorous 30 week batterer intervention program ("BIP"). These results are only options to a defendant charged with domestic violence. All defendants have a right to trial and can seek an acquittal from a jury compiled from residents of the county where the case is tried.
Miami Dolphin's Brandon Marshall Released from Hospital after Stabbing, Miami Herald.com, April 24, 2011.